Magic underrated Southern Steel's toughness

AARON GOILE
Last updated 05:00 04/04/2012
Laura Langman and Phillipa Finch
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ
HARD STEEL: Magic centre Laura Langman (left) recoils after colliding with the Steel's Phillipa Finch in their opening trans-Tasman netball match in Invercargill.

Relevant offers

Netball

Doubt lingers around Silver Ferns shooters ahead of World Cup Maria Tutaia doing her best to sort Silver Ferns' shooting end ahead of World Cup Norma Plummer calls for trans-Tasman expansion but another option more likely Silver Ferns thrash South Africa in Auckland ahead of World Cup Game of centimetres for Silver Ferns' Kayla Cullen ahead of the Netball World Cup Slow-starting Silver Ferns eventually put South Africa away in Hamilton Cathrine Latu re-signs with the Northern Mystics for 2016 trans-Tasman season Waimarama Taumaunu wants Silver Ferns in right frame of mind ahead of World Cup Midcourter Anna Thompson to return for a ninth season with Mainland Tactix Guatemala beckons for Silver Ferns defender Katrina Grant after World Cup

Magic coach Noeline Taurua admits her team underestimated the physical abilities of Donna Wilkins in their first- round loss to the Southern Steel in Invercargill on Monday night.

The Waikato-Bay of Plenty side opened their ANZ Championship campaign with a 49-47 defeat, having gone into the match as a far classier side on paper and letting slip a six-goal three-quarter time lead.

The Magic, who possess two of the competition's best defenders in Casey Williams and Leana de Bruin, were outplayed by the wily Steel shooting combination of Jodi Brown and Wilkins, who capitalised on the visitors' high error rate.

"I think, if I'm to be honest, maybe with Donna she exceeded the expectations," Taurua said.

"She only had a baby [her third] in January, so for her to be physically able, I think she's done a fantastic job.

"We always knew mentally she was going to be there, but I think, physically, we didn't put enough presence on her to make her work hard."

Taurua wasn't worried about her defenders, who both had a height advantage over their opponents, as she said time will tell how they go against other players.

"I think if we acknowledge that our ones weren't that good and not give credit to the opposition, then we'd be doing them a bit of a disservice," Taurua said.

It wasn't only the Magic's defence that let them down though – their flow through court was poor and they made far too many mistakes.

"We had a lot of ball in the forward line and we had a lot of ball coming out of the defence end, but we weren't able to convert it because of errors," Taurua said. "It's about relishing that when we do get turnover ball so that we actually score."

In the debrief straight after the game, there were moments of silence and a realisation that plenty has to be rectified to be a force in the competition.

"We've got to take this loss on the chin and just get on with it," Taurua said, adding they "learnt a lot" from it.

"We have another game next week and we have to get better."

Taurua revealed that debutante Jess Waitapu began the match at goal attack because Julianna Naoupu wasn't 100 per cent right, having been on antibiotics to cure a haematoma on her mouth.

And Taurua added that Waitapu's benching at quarter time was injury related.

She suffered a possible tear to the calf, with more to be known at training today.

Ad Feedback

- Waikato Times

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who should play goal shoot for the Silver Ferns?

Bailey Mes

Catherine Latu

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content